There should always be that leeway because if you think of your character as sort of absolutely fixed, then you just try and find actors to come and do exactly that thing, then you're not gonna be working with that actor's own set of internal impulses and who they are, so the best work is always a coming together of the actor and the character.
Age is as much an asset for character players as it is for good wine. Human experiences, both good and bad, leave their marks on one's face and bearing. A few lines on the face and a few gray hairs coupled with the idiosyncrasies an actor adopts throughout life help out round out the actor's personality. So far as I'm concerned, the older a character actor gets, the firmer his position is.
Sometimes you'll see interviews about an actor who was asked to hit the weight room to develop his body for the character, and you hear them complaining about the egg white omelettes they had to eat and the tortures of hitting the gym twice a day - I find that to be a bit saddening, it's all a part of becoming the character and as an actor, that is your job.
What's actually amazing is that, after a couple of years of living with characters and writing characters and talking about characters, as we sit in the writers room and break episodes, it strikes you, every once in awhile, that you're talking about a character that's played by the same actor, who you've been talking about forever. We talk about a character dying, so you get emotional, and then you realize, "Oh, but wait, that actor is still on the show."
It makes it easier, if you can't do an American accent. I don't know. It's different. I played a character in Never Let Me Go where the script for my character was very sparse, and I enjoyed it. With Never Let Me Go, I had a whole book written from my character's point of view, so I always knew where I was. But, with Ryan [Gosling], it was just easy. He's such a brilliant actor and he is so prepared. He doesn't have to warm himself up to be in a scene. He's just in it. It draws you in, in a way.
I love actors. I enjoy their company, and I get excited each and every time they bring a character I've written to life. Every so often a talented actor doesn't hook in correctly to a character; or someone gets lost in a labyrinth of over-complicated thoughts, and the character and play suffer. However, most of the time I find actors either end up doing exactly what was in my head, or sometimes do something even better.
You can say something that can really help and actor and you can say something that can really get in the way of an actor's performance, kind of cut them off from their instincts and really get into their heads. And every actor's different. Every actor requires something different. Being an actor, for me, was the greatest training to be a writer and director.
We just, you know, we're just sort of doing it like Bewitched, because we just think that the character of Kenny is so specific and so outrageous and so fun. And by far the hardest character to cast out of everybody to find someone who was capable of, you know, doing, you know, the comedy and just with the broadness and to be also just a really brilliant actor, you know, to do naturalism.
The "magic if" is a tool invented by Stanislavski, the father of acting craft, is to help an actor make appropriate choices. Essentially, the "magic if" refers to the answer to the question, "What would I do if I were this character in this situation?" Note that the question is not "What would I do if I were in this situation?" What you would do may be very different from what the character would do. Your job, based on your analysis of the script, the scene, and the given circumstances regarding the who of your character, is to decide what he or she would do.
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